Bryce Young, No. 2 Alabama Top Vanderbilt 55-3 in SEC Opener

Vanderbilt Alabama Football

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Bryce Young passed for a season-high 385 yards and four touchdowns and No. 2 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 55-3 Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

It was the first 300-yard game of the season for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter and completed 25 of 36 passes.

The Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0) opted to air it out against the Commodores (3-2, 0-1) and finally got big games and plays from multiple receivers. It was the most passing yards for Young since perhaps locking up the Heisman with 421 yards against Georgia in the SEC championship game.

“I think it was kind of our plan going into this game that we would spread these guys out more and try to attack them in the secondary,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “We thought we had some pretty good matchups.”

Alabama outgained Vandy 628-129 in total yards.

Ja’Corey Brooks had a career night, all in the first half when he had six catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton had his biggest game for the Tide: 94 yards on four catches, including a 48-yarder.

“We have high expectations for what our guys can do and Ja’Corey certainly didn’t disappoint tonight,” Saban said. “He had a great start to the game.”

Jahmyr Gibbs, who started the first three games at tailback, mostly lined up at receiver while Jase McClellan took over in the backfield. McClellan ran for 78 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Gibbs caught three passes for 43 yards and a score.

Vanderbilt freshman AJ Swann completed 13 of 26 passes for 115 yards in his second start after throwing for 255 yards and four touchdowns against Northern Illinois. The Commodores avoided a third straight shutout in the series after losing the last two meetings by a combined 93-0. It’s still the Commodores’ 23rd consecutive loss to the Tide and 22nd straight defeat against SEC teams.

Alabama gave future opponents, including three teams in a row who were ranked this week, something to think about with the downfield passing and lining up Gibbs as a receiver with such frequency. Linebacker Will Anderson Jr. had 2-1/2 sacks. Defensive lineman Byron Young left with a sprained ankle.

Brooks was mostly known for his tying touchdown in the final seconds against Auburn to force overtime last season. This was by far his biggest overall game. The sophomore had four catches for 62 yards through three games. Brooks caught passes on four consecutive plays for 68 yards and a TD on one drive.

Up next, Alabama visits No. 10 Arkansas to start a three-game stretch of facing ranked teams.

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Categories: Alabama, LACEUP